The Italian dream of building a bridge between Sicily and Italy, over which €250 million have already been spent, looks scuppered as the European Union has just signified it is not interested in it, preferring to put its money on the corridor linking Helsinki to Valletta. Italians, naturally, are fuming.
The news was contained in a proposal, Europa 2000, sent by the Commission to the European Parliament. The proposal eliminated the Bridge over the Straits concept which would have cost Sicily €2,000 million and the Calabria region €865 million.
The Commission expressed preference for what is known as Corridor 5, Helsinki to Valletta, as against Corridor 1 Berlin to Palermo.
The Commission decision promotes an ideal travel route which stops off at Bari and links this seafront city to Malta, but for Sicilians, apart from the lack of investment in the bridge concept, this also means that anything south of Bari and the entire Sicily are outside the EU fund framework.
Huge protests are being mounted by Sicilian politicians from all parties. The Sicilian regional parliament is being asked to meet with urgency to send a protest to Brussels and to try and get Brussels to change its decision.